Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them?
It’s important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
Eating with Braces
For the first few days after getting your braces, you will want to eat a softer diet (soups, pasta, mashed potatoes and gravy, milkshakes) until the initial soreness fades. You should then be able to enjoy most foods, just as you did before braces! However, you will need to protect your braces from breakage and there are a few things which should be avoided ->
Foods to Avoid
- “chewy foods” such as bagels, granola, hard rolls
- “crunchy foods” like popcorn, thick chips, chewing on ice
- “sticky foods” such as gum, caramel, taffy, dried fruit
- “hard foods” like nuts, candy, peanut brittle, suckers
- Corn must be removed from the cob, carrots and apples cut up and the meat needs to be removed from the bone of ribs and wings.
- Chewing on fingernails and pens/pencils will also break braces and lengthen treatment time!
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal for patients who have just gotten their braces put on, and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the salt water).
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they start to “toughen up” and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need wax, please let us know!
Loose Wire or Band
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use the eraser end of a pencil and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office for an appointment to check and repair the appliances.
It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. This presentation will show you some great tools and techniques for keeping that smile clean and white! (The link will open a PDF presentation in your browser.)
Game, Set, Match–we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let the front desk know if you need a mouthguard; they are provided free of charge.
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.